August 2012

How Do You Get Ahead of Your Competitors?

Dear Reader,

How do you to get ahead of your competitors? One of the best ways is to find out what they’re up to. What products and services are they selling and developing? What do their customers really think of them?  What makes them better – or worse – than your business?

When you have the answers to these questions, you can really increase your competitive advantage and beat your competition. Read on for ideas on how you can do this most effectively.

What do you know about your competitors and how did you find that out?  Share you thoughts with us by answering this question on LinkedIn here.

Martin Holliss

t: +44 1235 812 456
m: +44 7931 376501

How Do You Get Ahead of Your Competitors?

So you want to find out what your competitors are up to – what’s the best way to go about doing it? That depends on what sort of information you’re looking for.

Desk research – there is a huge amount of information that you can discover about your competitors without commissioning new research. For instance, look at their websites, reports on other people’s websites and request data from places like Companies House.

Pricing – look at your competitors’ websites to see what they’re charging for products and services like yours. If you’re looking to undercut the market, this will be vital information to help you get ahead.

Added Value – if you don’t want to compete on price, you need to provide your customers with the best value on the market. Look at what your competitors provide for their different prices. What additional options, features and benefits can you offer, to promote a premium service for which you can charge more?

New Developments – when you’re planning the launch of a new product or service, you need to know what else is already on the market. Look at what your competitors are charging, what value they add and what features customers are asking for. How many of your competitors are already selling what you want to sell? Is there a gap in the market or is it already saturated?

Mergers & Acquisitions – if you’re looking to grow your business by taking over one of your competitors, Companies House will be able to provide you with some of the data you need on the performance of that company. Are you planning an aggressive launch into a new market? Use the same source to find out how successfully your competitors are – or are not – performing in your chosen market.

All this can be done without your competitors knowing that you’re looking into them! 

But while you can gather a great deal of really useful, factual information on your competitors by looking for it, there is a lot more that you need to know about them, in order to get ahead.

Reputation – with the development of Social Media and user generated content, it is now much easier to find out what other people think of your competitors. You can search for company names on Twitter to see what people are saying about them. Visit their Facebook page (if they have one) to see how many people ‘like’ them. Do they have a LinkedIn profile? If so, how many recommendations have they been given? If your competitors write blogs, look at the comments their followers and customers leave.

From the number and quality of the comments and mentions, you can build up a good picture of what other people think of your competitors.

If you have the time to carry out research into your competitors, this is a good place to start. You can then spend time using different Social Media tools to find out what people think about them and how they interact with their customers. But is that enough?

What if Your Competitors Won’t Speak to You?

The best way to find out what people think about your competitors and what the competitors themselves are really up to, is by speaking to them. But what do you do if they won’t speak to you?

If you want to really dig into what your competitors are up to and find out exactly what’s going on, the best way is to ask an independent marketing research agency to do the digging. Professional, impartial researchers know the best questions to ask and the right people to speak to, to gather that information for you. After all, your competitors are much more likely to talk to someone who is not actually one of their competitors! Researchers can get information from your competitors that you can’t.

Once you have all the information you need about your competitors, you’ll be in a much stronger position to launch your new product, develop your new service, create a winning marketing campaign or promote the strongest USP on the market. Armed with this information, you can plan a far more effective strategy.

If you’d like to know more about your competitors, whether by using desk research or commissioning primary research, talk to us at Research Insight.

Let Us Know on LinkedIn

What do you know about your competitors and how did you find that out?

Share your thoughts with us by answering our current question on LinkedIn.